When I first heard about the Air Force’s top commander, Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, dismissing cases of sexual assault in the military as a result of “hookup mentality”, I was obviously upset for many of the same reasons that Katie expressed yesterday. Why are we associating consensual sex with rape? But I was also upset that the term “hookup culture” was being used in the first place as a serious thing.
Sex is sex. Not only that, people have been engaging in sexual activity — spontaneously, pre-maritally, extra-maritally, unmarried, with the opposite sex, with the same sex, but most important, consensually — way before us under 30 people were even born. Assuming that today’s youth are more engaged in deviant sexual practices and dismissing their sexual activity as part of a specific culture pathologizes sexually active young people. (I’d also like to add that the term “hooking up” itself is very
white culturally specific. Which contributes to the panic surrounding it. It is implied that “good” kids are now having sex as a result of ”bad” trend created by their peers.)
Hookup culture is another one of those things we use to blame young people and women (because women’s sexuality is always under evaluation) for the issues affecting their communities, like sexual assault and high STD contraction rates, while continuing to deny them access to comprehensive health care and sex education. But it’s not really a “thing” at all. It’s the same sex that people have been having for years. Some people just call it hooking up.